Long-term effects of differential early rearing in rhesus macaques: Behavioral reactivity in adulthood

Christopher A. Corcoran, Peter J. Pierre, Tyler Haddad, Christina Bice, Stephen J. Suomi, Kathleen A. Grant, David P. Friedman, Allyson J. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Adverse early experiences are associated with a range of deleterious health outcomes in humans, including higher risk for affective disorders. Studies using a long-standing model of nonhuman primate model of early adversity have demonstrated that nursery-reared (NR) monkeys exhibit alterations in multiple aspects of biobehavioral development; however, few studies have evaluated the persistence of socioaffective behavioral changes through adulthood. We evaluated the effects of early rearing experience on adult animals' response to a well-validated assessment of anxiety-like behavior, the human intruder paradigm (HIP). We tested 22 rhesus monkeys who were either nursery-reared (NR) or reared with their mothers (mother-reared; MR). NR monkeys were inhibited in their behavior compared to MR monkeys, with reduced locomotion and exploratory behaviors. NR animals showed a marginal increase in freezing. Together these findings demonstrate that the consequences of differential infant rearing experience on socioaffective behavior persist into adulthood, with evidence of greater inhibition in NR monkeys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Adult
  • Affective behavior
  • Early experience
  • Human intruder
  • Lifespan
  • Rhesus monkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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